Looking for Mr. Smith: Seeking the Truth Behind The Long Walk, the Greatest Survival Story Ever Told

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Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2010 - History - 276 pages
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Since 1956, The Long Walk has been, for many, the symbol of an immense love of freedom and has become one of the greatest true-life adventure stories of all time. The harrowing story about a group of POWs who escaped a labor camp in Siberia and walked to freedom in India during WWII deeply affected thousands of its readers, and Linda Willis was one of those moved by the story. But she had questions about its authenticity:

- Was it all true?
- What happened after their arrival in India?
- Were there others involved in the story?
- Who was Mr. Smith?

Though she was not a trained researcher, Willis felt compelled to look at some of the most powerful aspects of the story and to try to dig to the core of the truth behind The Long Walk. Willis's investigation took her down unforeseen byways with many hours spent unraveling facts, truths, half-truths, and rumors. She waded through archives, wrote and spoke to hundreds of people, and continued to seek out and verify the details of the greatest adventure narrative ever written. The path of Willis's research will be a model for anyone attempting a similar search or has ever thought about the story behind a book. No one who reads Looking for Mr. Smith will ever think of The Long Walk--or the major motion picture based on the book, The Way Back starring Ed Harris and Colin Farrell--in the same way again.

Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

 

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Contents

Downing
19
Kolemenos Zaro and Mr Smith
27
From Moscow to Siberia
33
retelling the tale
47
Speculation and Criticism
59
india and Beyond
67
rawicz and Downing
73
A NeW begINNINg
81
the BBC
151
intelligence Officers and Missionaries
159
Glinskis Walk
167
Loose eNds
183
Expeditions and Memories
185
Another Escape Story
197
Leads and Dead Ends
203
Barrackpore
209

Cracking the Nut
83
Glinski
89
Batko Zora and Mr Smith
103
the Bit Players
111
ReseARch ReNeWed
119
China to Burma to india
121
rawicz and Glinski
127
Documentation Surprises
133
Documentation Discoveries
143
ReVeLAtIoNs ANd coNfIRmAtIoNs
149
A WALk eNded
215
the Pinsk Connection
217
Searching for Smith
225
the russian Mr Smith
233
the American Mr Smith
239
the Smith Conundrum
247
Who Was Mr Smith?
257
afterword
265
index
273
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Linda Willis lived, traveled, and worked overseas for thirty yearsbefore returning to the United States in 1997. She's worked as aprawn traveler and an executive secretary and has taught Englishin Taiwan and Japan. Willis turned her hand to writing onceshe started down the road to researching the story behind TheLong Walk , which took her ten years to accomplish. She lives inMiddlebury, Vermont.

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